Sunday, June 29, 2008

The dress so nice....

... I made it twice.....

Making this Debra Moises dress for the second time took me all of 2 hours.... 45 minutes cutting it out late Friday night (... and the phrase 'cutting it out' might be too strong since it's essentially just a square and a rectangle, I really just cut the fabric in two pieces...didnt even use the pattern….) And an hour sewing it up the next morning...

Ahem.... I know what you’re thinking ... 45+60 = 1 hour and 45 minutes....((cough)) ... well.... see...((inhale))......what had happened was...((exhale))...... I kind of sewed the skirt on to the bodice backwards... ((sniff)) and inside out.... so it took me some time to pick the threads and sew it back up again.... (and, I must add, it only took 2 hours because I used a few different (slow sewing) decorative stitches at some of the seams.)

I did make a few modifications to this version though...
.... First I made it in a woven fabric instead of the recommended knit. .... I halved the width of the bodice... since it was woven instead of knit, I found it was just too much fabric bunched up around the waist.

.... I took the extra length of fabric I cut from the bodice and supersized the length of the ties. I don’t know if I didn’t buy the same amount of fab this time or what, but the length of the bodice was not nearly enough to wrap and tie like the knit version.
.... I also did my first 'merrow' stitch on the hem... sooooo stoked that my machine has 3 different widths for this handy little edge finish usually reserved for overlocks and sergers.
(I have a feeling one of my next projects (V2850) will put this handy dandy ‘satin stitch’ to the test!)

Overall, I think it came out great and I plan on wearing this at the earliest available opportunity.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Weekend Pattern Sales...

Hey ya'll ... I just got an email that is having a 5.99$ 'Fall Release' pattern sale tomorrow (6/27) only!! just sent me another message advertising THEIR McCall's sale going on sale thru Sunday for 4.99$... but keep in mind, doesn't have the complete line that offers, of course. But, do like I do, open both pages and see what overlaps...
(FYI, also has Vogue patterns on sale for 8.99$ and Butterick for 5.99$... gotta love'em)

TTFN.... Holla!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bargain bin Bargains....

Ssoo... since the weather was so nice here in NY yesterday, I decided to stop by one of my other 'once/twice a month visit' fabric stores here in Brooklyn, Sava-a-thon Fabrics on Flatbush Ave.
Their selection leaves much to be desired, but its fine if you're just looking for cheap fabric to use as wearable muslins/test runs. The prices usually run between 1.99 and 5.99 a yard for the majority of the selections (usually of high polyester content.)

As I expected, I really didn't see anything I wanted, but, I decided to look in the $1/yrd bargain bin before I left… low and behold… I came across the loveliest polyester 'mole-skin'/extra low pile velvet fabric in a really soft creamy beige .... 4+ yards!!....

As soon as I saw it, I thought this would make a great 'winter version' of the Anne Klein for Vogue dress!! I would have to line it of course, but I think it would look nice…

I kept digging and I came across a very simple dark green light-weight jersey, 2+ yards… I have this off the shoulder long sleeve tee by Neue Mode that I got from for $1. I think it would make a nice early fall run around top.

I also picked up this 'crinkled' light weight 65/35 poly/cotton fabric.
I saw it and thought it was cheap enough (1.99/yrd) that I could try it for a non-stretch version of the Debra Moises wrap dress I made a few weeks ago.

I'm going to cut it out tonight/tomorrow and see if I can’t sew it up this weekend.

It supposed to be storming both Saturday and Sunday, so I think I will be in the house for the most part….. Well, partly because of the weather and partly because 'The Divine Ms.EM' blew my budget for the month… OF JULY!!

So I'll be busy finishing up some projects on the table...

Like this Built By Wendy/Simplicity top in a pretty mustard-y gold poly/cotton fab I got from Fulton Fabrics a few weeks ago.

It was cheap fab, but it's just a 'test run' since I did my first FBA on the pattern!!!
Let me tell you… that was a DRAG!!.... I could not find any resource that would help you do a FBA on a shirt with no dart! It’s a loose fitting top and I don't want to add any real shaping to it. I trudged thru it, so we'll see what happens when I try it on.

I also cut this other BBW/Simplicity top last week, but ended up putting it aside during all 'the machine' troubles. It's in the same fabrication as the gold fabric above, but in a very pretty deep fuchsia/rose pink…
... but when I started pinning it I saw that it was shaded/faded…gggrrrrrr! I'm going to sew it up anyway. If it fits nice (I didn't do any pattern alterations on this one) I will just dye it or something.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

A day well spent....

I spent the bulk of the day taking pictures of past projects ( be posted later... I'm pooped.) But, I did get a good deal done on the Anne Klein dress.
I've gotten far enough to do a little side fitting...

The pattern might be a little over powering for the front pleating, but I still think it's a nice detail...

Still got a ways to go, but I think it will turn out to be one of my wardrobe staples..

I'll Holla!


... and here she is... I've taken to calling her MsEM...;-)

I've spent most of the morning playing with my new toy... as it is with these things... there is a learning curve. Plus, there are so many different little points of interest, it takes a while to really know all the ins and outs.

But I did do a test drive...

This is the Very Easy Vogue (V8495) top I was working on last weekend, when 'the machine' died on me...

I was able to do everything except the hem... which I finished this morning. I used one of the little tricks my guide at Sew Right told me yesterday...
I used a decorative top stitch (double cross hatch) to finish the hem and enclose the hem edge in one fell swoop. It worked perfectly!

I also got the chance to put my bias tape maker to the test and I'm very pleased with the finished product.
The next project I have on the table is this Anne Klien Dress (V1025)from Vogue Patterns...
Even though I couldn’t sew last week, I did go ahead a cut this pattern out... It’s supposed to be lined, but the fabric is a bit heavier weight (medium/dress weight poly-rayon) than the listed fabrics. I think I can get away without it.

Here's a close up of the fabric...
.... it was another score at Fulton Fabrics... 3bucks a yard!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's called C-o-m-p-r-o-m-i-s-e.....

So..... I went to Sew Right with every intention of just trying a few machines out. Then I was to return home and do a little research, finding whichever one I liked online. WWWeeellllllll…… THIS is why I shouldn't be allowed to shop for big ticket items by myself...

This is Sew Right (… yes, right next to paradise…lol)

This is the bus stop back to Brooklyn...

This is me…

This is the big ticket item I was supposed to search for a better deal for online.... Rrrrright.

Alas, I do feel like I made a very good choice overall...The Emerald 183 by Husqvarna Viking... I went with a very good brand... I got everything I needed plus most of what I wanted. Yes, I spent on the higher (highest) end of my price range. But, I feel I walked away with a high quality machine from a high quality machine making company.

I mean, it WAS still about 150-200 less than the PRLE.... And that’s exactly what I'll keep telling myself... Over and over and over again... I mean... I just spent my iPhone money....:(

But, the drama over whether our not it was an impulse buy, and/or the cost of said buy aside, I think I'm in love. It’s big. It’s sleek. And it’s fast(er than the other machines I looked at... The Magnolia 7330 by Janome and the Quilter's Choice by Babylock.)

Another thing I keep telling myself is that I am getting quality care and service at a 'local' dealer (…Okay, so Union Turnpike and 223rd St. in Queens isn't exactly 'local' to Forte Green, Brooklyn, but I think it would be worth any trips I had to make.) I think this would not have been the case with an online purchase. I was already told I could come back and take a class on the machine anytime or if I had any questions all I had to do was call...

That kind of thing is big for me.

Today, Holla = Chaching!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I need this dress in my life....


Looking for the original is out of the question. And finding fabric with this type of singular graphic print is turning out to be a joke... let me find out I'm going to have to find a zebra template and cut this out by hand... honeychile pleazzzze!!

I'm also drooling over this color-blocked beauty....
... Now this looks like something that would be CONSIDERABLY easier to jerririg a pattern for.... I think I could use this...... It’s not an exact know me.... but I think adjusting the pattern for a wider neck opening would make it passable. Maybe making more of a drooped or cowl neck instead of the scooped neck line of the original. I'd also need to extend the shoulder seam... a lot... but as I already own this pattern, I know I love how easy this dress is to make............. something to think about.

And lastly... this coat....

.... is a show stopper.
Maybe this time next year... there'll be another Great Coat Sew-Along and I will have built up the nerve and the skill to join in.

Okay, time for bed... the sooner I go to be bed, the sooner I can get up and go to SewRight and hopefully come home with a new sewing machine...
...Its like Christmas when I was a kid... except.... I have to buy all the presents myself...:-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goodbye Brother…........................... HHEELLOOO PANASONIC!!!!

I got my camera today…. yyiipppeeeeeee!! It’s so pretty and …and… blue! Its supposed to be a 'Point and Click' but there seems to be a bit of a learning curve to get a good 'post worthy' photo.

... but, I'm pushing to be up and running by the weekend!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

As I pack up ‘the machine’ and prepare to bid it adieu, I now have the task of finding a replacement ahead of me. Frankly, one of the best feelings about picking the first machine was that I could finally relax and settle into my choice without the hem/haw of “which one do i choose.”

The anxiety, I’m sure many of us remember, of trying to find the ‘right’ machine. Do you go for the basic machine to satisfy your immediate needs? Do you go for the pricier upgrade, thinking that it’s got more bang for the buck? Or, do you go with the tried and true ‘high-end’ brands that cost at least 4 of your 10 fingers, but, everyone is always talking about how they've been sewing on the same machine "since high school."

Originally, I set a budget of 300$. Funny enough, most machines I found ran either 100$ less or 100$ more than my target. I couldn't find a good (meaning ‘well reviewed’) machine that fit my needs and desires at this price range. So, it ended up being a pro vs. con choice… do I go for the budget Kenmore at Sears that runs about 109$ on sale and resign myself to upgrading in a few years…or ... Do I go for the shinny and new Project Runway LE from Brother with 294 stitches (… please say that like the ‘Lotto Guy’)… I mean, the PR LE model IS on flex-pay at HSN… NO! BAD MICA!!...((ahem))

I settled on an in-between model, the aforementioned, Brother CS6000i. It was computerized, which I convinced myself was abso-necessary. It had a speed control switch, up/down needle button and it told me what foot to use… perfect!....

Until…. well… see my last post for ‘…..WWWWHHYYYYYYY?!?’


This time around, I think I’m going to go with my head and just fork over a ‘little’ more money to get one of those “… I got this from my grandma, 20yrs ago…” brands.

I’m lucky enough to work at one of the shrinking number of garment companies in The City that still have a full sewing floor. So after perusing all the industrial sewing machines we have in house, I see the overwhelming number of stations have Juki and Viking machines.

But, I still have to contend with the belief that I NEED a computerized model with all the bells and whistles… I’m going to let the experts guide me this time. I’m going to visit Sew Right Sewing Machines in Queens, NY this Saturday and really listen to their suggestions.
PLUS, they’re matching Janome and Singer prices advertised online – SCORE!

... of course, I'll keep you posted (no pun intended...'-).... and PLEASE if you have any tips or advice or warnings... ppuuhhlleezz fill me in!

Monday, June 16, 2008

..No time for persnickety appliances

SSsssooooo... I, being me, kept fidgeting with the CS6000i yesterday and finally figured out that, apparently, 'the machine' (... as it shall now be called) no longer likes having the presser foot attached when it's powered on.... oh, really???

I was able to sew up the simpler of the two tops i had prepared yesterday, but since i didn’t get started until about 5pm and ... ahem.... I kind of followed the wrong construction directions and finished the armeyes in the wrong way... ahem... I didn’t quite finish it.

As the title suggests, I don’t have time of ‘sometimey’ machines, so I think I’m going to send this one back, just in case. I just have to decide if I want the same one back or if I want to move on to another model/maker.... decisions, decisions.

AND! My new camera is in the mail as we speak... or as I type and you read... so I should have REAL pictures to post later this week!!.... YEA ME!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

(please hear Nancy Kerrigan when I say...) WWWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!

So, you see that nice enthusiastic post I wrote this morning about all the sewing I planned to get done today? Yyyyeeeaahhhhhhhhh...

I turned on my CS6000i this afternoon and was greeted with a loverly beeping sound and 'F4' error message blinkety-blinking across my LCD screen.... "Well, good afternoon to you too, Sunshine!"

Now, me being me, I immediately jumped on my computer to Google 'CS6000i' and 'F4' and what did I spy?
"You receive the error message F4 when there is a problem within the unit and will need to be service." -

... isn’t that special?

I..... have had..... this...... mmaacchhiinnee..... 2 DAYS more....... than a MONTH!!

I have already called HSN, where I got the machine, 34 days ago, and they said that I could either call Brother and see about getting the machine fixed or I could send it back and get a replacement..."if any are still available..."


Works in progress...

... So, struck with the urge to 'make something' last night, I started these two projects... This Built by Wendy top(view C) from Simplicity. I have been mooning over all her patterns for months and when Simplicity went on sale for 4.99 a few weeks ago, I scooped up my most favorite (... I got this and this too.)... And this Very Easy Vogue top(view B) ... also scored in a 1-day sale two weeks ago.

I traced both patterns with my handy dandy clear plastic drop cloth (10yrds run about 5-6$ at your local hardware store... I recommend at least 3mil... I find 1-2mil is just too flimsy and very prone to snags.) And, I finished pinning and cutting the Vogue.

I used this pretty white with black and red floral patterned stretch woven fabric I picked up a few weeks ago a PS Fabrics (Bdwy/Franklin, NYC) for the V8495.

I have a very pretty rose/dark pink cotton shirting for the BbW top. But, since it's currently laid out on my table ready to be pinned, I'll have to add a pic of that one later.

I plan on cutting out the Simplicity top this afternoon and hopefully sew up the Vogue.
(I finally bought a REAL camera yesterday and I hope to have it by Wednesday... so pictures to follow... OH HAPPY DAY!!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Inspiration Game....

It's almost like the minute I started sewing again almost every garment I look at seems so 'simple' to make.... I constantly hear myself saying "...OMG! that's just a basic shell dress with about a dozen layers of ruffles added...." or "... MAN! I just saw that same silhouette in a pattern that was on sale at Simplicity for, like, 4.99!!"

It's become almost like a game now, I'm constantly perusing magazines looking for pieces that I like that can be dissected or morphed from similar paper pattern bodies... and, on more than a few occassons, I have gotten caught recklessly eyeballin' a random passer-by, trying to get a quick look at a design detail...

I've started calling it 'The Inspiration Game'... I find a garment, say, like this fabulous dress that was on the cover of this Thursday's WWD (6/12/08). Then I start combing my standard pattern haunts, McCall's Pattern Co., etc. until i find likely suspects.... like say, this little ditty... I think the 'A' version is a spot-on match for the top half of the WWD cover dress... and maybe I can make the skirt from this one... since I already own this pattern, I can take the bottom pattern piece and add a few inches to the width and length.... and well, what do you know....
... this

plus a piece of this...


.... well, I mean, with a little imagination..... I DIDN'T SAY IT WAS AN EXACT SCIENCE!!!!

But, you have to admit, its more than a little fun... I mean isn't this why so many of us started sewing in the first place. To be better able to put our own stamp on RTW... or to bring 'high' style down to our own particular price ranges.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I REALLY need to get a real camera...

So, since I'm bursting with enthusiasm to get this bloggerlife started, here are some of the pictures I have taken so far of some of the items I have sewn over the last few weeks...

The skirt is the first item I made... well, ALTERED, as it used to be a pair of Gap capri pants that had gotten a little too snug.... but dang if they don't make a dang sexy pencil skirt... granted they make climbing steps a little interesting (... think Carol Berrnet's 'Mrs. Wiggins',) but its worth it!! (... if your interested, i got the 'how-to' from

This is another super bad pic (... think bad meaning BAD!)... but dagnabit if I wasn't proud as all get out about these pants... my first 'from scratch' item. I got the fabric at Parons on 40th street in The City. The fab was originally 16.99/y but Parons has an excellent 50% off room where they but all their end cuts and discontinued fab. The pants themselves are your standard pull-on leggings with super long straight legs... LOVE 'EM!

I wont even torture you with the rest of the pictures as they only get WORSE, if you can imagine... but, I promise to retake them and post later.

Thanks for stopping buy...


Monday, June 9, 2008

Here goes nothing....

... after months and months of perusing and pursuing and downright stalking various sewing blogs (...that have become staples in my daily web browsing,) I have decided to start my own!!

Like many, I started sewing in HomeEC in high school (... GaithersburgHS)... my teacher, Mrs. McDonald, lit some kind of fire in me and that was it.... I remember, the first item I actually made was a pink velour jumpsuit for my principle's toddler.... never mind that I sewed the whole thing up inside out... NEVER MIND, I said!!

I ended up studying Textile and Apparel Merchandising at Western Kentucky University before moving to NYC, where I've worked in the industry for the last.... wow... 14 years.

So, long story short, after a many year'd hiatus from the sewing machine, I decided to take a refresher sewing class at Sew Fast, Sew Easy here in NYC and I'm back in action again! Admittedly, I feel like I'm starting from scratch most of the time. But, I've powered through it and I'm hard pressed to remember why I stopped sewing in the first place.

That's enough for now... pics of the first few pieces I have made (or altered from existing pieces) so far, along with things that I plan on working on in the near future, are soon to come.

As my nearest and dearest would say.... HOLLA!